Home ” Space ” Venus would have been habitable? NASA will send probes to find out
With an average temperature of 464 degrees Celsius, Venus is not the most welcoming planet around. However, NASA will send two missions there by the end of the decade, with the aim of knowing if life has been able, at some point in history, to develop there.
If the exploration of Mars occupies all minds, NASA does not want to forget the other planets of the solar system and in particular Venus, which is sometimes called the “sister planet” of the Earth: the two indeed share several points. common, such as diameter, mass, proximity to the sun. Venus is the second closest planet to the sun, Earth is the third.
Two missions to find out more
NASA has given the green light to two missions to Venus, as part of the Discovery program, which consists of financing explorations on a “low” budget (we are talking about $ 500 million for each of them, which is not not nothing !). To begin with, the VERITAS probe will orbit the planet in 2028. It will need to map the surface of Venus, which will give scientists a better idea of the geology, topography and geography of the planet.
The surface of Venus will be recreated in 3D to confirm volcanic activity and tectonic plates. The second mission, called DAVINCI +, is more ambitious. It will be launched in 2029 and will on the one hand make it possible to obtain close-up images of the planet’s surface; then, a probe will be deployed in the atmosphere in order to measure the various chemical elements that compose it.
There is currently a theory circulating that the atmosphere of Venus contains phosphine, an inorganic compound that is usually produced by living organisms. This theory is disputed in the scientific community, but DAVINCI + will help solve this mystery. The main objective of these twin missions is to find out whether at a given moment in its history, Venus could have been habitable. Today, it is impossible given his temperature, but perhaps life could have been possible.